Director of the French football association suffered a heart attack, did lobbying by controversial association president La Graët have anything to do with it?

©  AFP

The scandal atmosphere surrounding the French federation president Noël Le Graët continues to swell. On Monday he unleashed a storm with derogatory comments about French football icon Zinedine Zidane, on Tuesday a female football agent came forward with a testimony about transgressive behaviour, on Wednesday he was sacked and now the news comes that the director of the French football association Florence Hardouin, with whom he lived at odds, suffered a heart attack hours after she was temporarily suspended, also on Wednesday. The French sports newspaper L’Equipe suggests that Le Graët lobbied to have Hardouin kicked out.

Michael Van Damme

A day after football agent Sonia Souid testified in L’Equipe about transgressive behavior by 81-year-old French federation president Noel Le Graët, the Executive Committee of the French federation held a special session at which it was decided to retire Le Graët and ad to be replaced on an interim basis by Vice-President Philippe Diallo.

At the same time, it was decided to temporarily suspend the general manager Florence Hardouin pending the results of an audit into abuses at the French Football Federation ordered by the French Minister of Sport. That audit was a result of earlier anonymous testimonies about transgressive behavior by Le Graët, but it will of course also be investigated whether Hardouin was aware.

L’Equipe suggests that Hardouin’s push aside on Wednesday would have been pushed by Le Graët stalwarts. Because while there were new elements against Le Graët on Wednesday – his slip-up about Zidane and the testimony of Sonia Souid – there were no new objections to Hardouin.

The scandalous atmosphere around Noël Le Graët is increasing day by day. — ©  AFP

However, relations between Florence Hardouin and the controversial Noël Le Graët had soured in recent months and Hardouin had felt for some time, according to L’Equipe, that he wanted to push her aside. Le Graët would have lobbied members of the Executive Committee for this. On Monday, she had openly rejected Le Graët’s statements about Zidane.

Be that as it may, on Wednesday morning the executive committee not only decided to send Le Graët away, but Hardouin was also temporarily put aside.

In the afternoon, a few hours after the news, she experienced severe chest pain and suffered a heart attack. According to the doctors, the emotional burden and stress of the news was the direct cause of the heart attack. Hardouin is still in intensive care.

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